The Iraq Meltdown: What Next?

Obama will make sure the terrorists have everything they need.
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The swift collapse of Iraqi security forces in northern Iraq in the face of an al-Qaeda-spearheaded Sunni insurgency is a disastrous setback for U.S. counterterrorism and Middle East policies that will have dangerous regional spillover effects.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, routed demoralized security forces in Mosul on Tuesday, and is advancing on Baghdad, where it probably hopes to link up with its cells that have conducted an intensifying car-bomb campaign in recent months.

Fast-moving columns of ISIS fighters reportedly have penetrated as far as the outskirts of Samarra, roughly seventy miles north of Baghdad. They may pose a threat to the Shia shrine in Samarra, which Al-Qaeda in Iraq bombed in 2006 in a previous effort to incite civil war.

ISIS has been immensely strengthened by the war booty it has seized, including tanks, artillery, munitions depots and helicopters, which it already has put in the air. It also has freed Sunni militants from at least five prisons to join its ranks and looted an unknown number of banks, including an estimated $429 million dollars worth of Iraqi dinars from the Mosul central bank.

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